The three primary rodent pests of homes and buildings in Texas include Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus), roof rats (Rattus rattus) and house mice (Mus musculus). The house mouse is easily the most common indoor rodent pest in every US state, and the Norway rat is the dominant rat species in most urban areas throughout the country. Roof rats are frequent home-invaders in suburban areas in Texas, and they are especially attracted to residential yards where lush vegetation is abundant. A recent nationwide survey of pest control professionals revealed that the roof rat was the third most commonly managed rodent pest within American homes after the house mouse and Norway rat.
Norway rats frequently damage turf-grass, gardens and landscape features on residential properties due to their habit of excavating ground burrows. These large rats are notorious for burrowing beneath foundations, patios, sheds, flooring, garden beds, and bundles of lawn-waste and sticks. It is not uncommon for Norway rats to gain indoor access by burrowing beneath homes, and they frequently remain within wall voids and other hidden indoor areas during the day when humans are active. At night when humans are sleeping, Norway rats leave their harborages in order to collect food from kitchens, or they may return outdoors to forage.
Unlike Norway rats, roof rats do not typically dwell within ground burrows; instead they nest in high locations, like attics, and within ceiling voids and wall voids on the upper floors of homes. House mice do not nest within ground burrows, and they typically invade homes at the ground level. Unlike most wildlife pests, house mice are unique for favoring indoor habitats, and they consistently invade homes throughout the year. In order to collect the materials they need to construct nests within wall voids, house mice are known to tear apart numerous indoor items, such as furniture upholstery, curtains, bedding, insulation, plaster and wood.
Norway rats and roof rats do not spend much time constructing neat nests, but all rodent pests use their sharp incisors to gnaw at a variety of valued materials, especially wood, plaster, insulation, upholstery, clothing, and stored food containers and packages. Rodents contaminate stored foods with pathogen-rich bodily products like saliva, urine and feces. Numerous disease-causing microorganisms are associated with rodents and their excretions, including Salmonella and E. coli.
Have you ever found rodent droppings in your home?